Boom Gagga

“Boom!” and the passenger side window slowly fell.

You looked on in amazement and felt the breeze on your face. Turning to me you waited to for a small bit of encouragement. I nodded.

You thought for a while, then fixed your gaze on the drivers-side window.

As the pieces of the mental jigsaw puzzle fell into place, I saw a smile form on your face and then a full-on grin.

You took a deep breath.


A pause and then as the window also began to descend, you let out a squeal of delight.

We continued to play the Boom Gagga game for many, many minutes. You didn’t seem to tire of it for a long time.

With each “Boom” the passenger window obeyed, either opening or closing depending on where it was starting from, likewise with the Gagga’s and the drivers side.

I don’t think that you ever realised that my finger was on the electric window controls, hidden from your view by my seat. I don’t know why the two left and right commands became “Boom” and “Gagga”. But I do know that they brought a huge amount of joy to a small boy, strapped into the back of this Dad’s car, waiting for Mum to finish her shopping.

They brought a lot of joy to me too.

Maybe one day, when you have a small child of your own, you too will play the “Boom Gagga” game.

Don’t sing quietly

Sing loudly

Write and don’t worry what people may think.

Often, people who are more successful than you are actually not better than you.

When I was younger I worried what people would think. So I sang quietly. I stayed with the group, I didn’t stand out. I didn’t want to be noticed in case I  was shot down or ridiculed.

You need to learn to just put out what you want into the world. If you want to write a book, do it, even if you do so badly. No one is keeping score, and often the very people who would criticise you, will suddenly be praising what you did, if you just keep going and do what you do.

I originally wrote this note four years ago. Soon afterwards I took down this blog because I was afraid of the comments that someone had said to me. But for a long while now I have been feeling, deep down, that I need to write here. I need to get it all out. Maybe this is my little bit of art. Maybe it will be ridiculed by others or judged. If that’s the case so be it.

But having taken my own medicine, even if a few years down the line, I’m going to carry on now and write from my heart.

I’m not going to sing quietly anymore. Don’t you do that either.

Valentines Day

Valentines roses

Tomorrow will be Valentine’s Day.

Your Mum and I will probably be spending it at home, eating pizza and relaxing with you in front of Saturday night TV.

And it’s OK, you know.

Having a small person around (you are nearly 3 now, and how quickly has that time gone) can severely put a damper on the heady romance and courtship that you’ll one day experience with your own love.  It can at times seem sad, as you mourn what you have lost or can’t have.  But the thing to remember is that if you work at the romance and never take it for granted, you can snatch small moments, even as a tired Dad, and also hold on to the fact that one day your small son will be grown up and independent.  When that time comes, if you’ve worked at keeping the romance alive and the fire burning, even if only slightly, it shouldn’t take much to fan that small flame back into a roaring blaze.

Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to tell your girlfriend or wife that you love them Lawrie. Don’t worry about looking like a fool when you buy them flowers, send them notes or go down on one knee to propose to them in public.  It’s not weak to have and to show feelings, particularly to people that love you and care about you.

When you’re a bit older, you’ll start to wonder if you’ll receive any Valentines Cards.  For a time, you might not get any and that’ll hurt.  But try to have patience and trust that in time, it’ll happen.

Later, you’ll find yourself settled down with someone who, above all, you know is a good person and genuinely wants to be the best they can be with you.  When you find this person, make sure that even though you’ve got them, you still choose and send them romantic Valentine’s cards.  And roses.  You cannot go wrong with a dozen red roses, despite what other’s might say.

And one final tip. Always, always get an extra Valentines card, write in it left handed (or get a friend to do so to ensure that your sweetheart can’t tell your handwriting), and post it back to your love to arrive on Valentines Day.  (a) If they don’t realise it’s from you it will make them feel just a little bit happier about themselves, (b) if they secretly know it’s from you they’ll still have a bit of a smile that their chap can have some fun and in the process make them smile too. Win Win.

I wish you many happy Valentines Day’s – and lots of love.

Sit Quietly


You’re asleep on me. Your head rests heavily on my shoulder, one arm loosely around my neck, the other heavy and limp by my side. You’re snoring.

It’s 3.55pm on Monday.

I’ve taken a day off to look after you, as your childminder needed today away from work.

We’ve seen the family off to school. We’ve had a leisurely breakfast, you had porridge, me, omelette and coffee.

We took the dogs out on a “digger walk”. Stopping by the building site nearby to look at all of the machinery, JCB’s, dump trucks, road sweepers. I wonder if you’re still obsessed by diggers now? You even take one to bed instead of a teddy.

You’re sleeping and at peace. After walking, lunch and a trip in the car, you’ve flaked out.

I wish I could enjoy this day more, to be so completely present in all of the moments that I don’t start thinking and worrying about being back in work tomorrow. I’m dreading it.

I wish for more time. To spend being your dad. To do work I truly enjoy. To spend with your Mum, your siblings, my friends.

Sometimes life is hard Lawrie, not for any serious reasons, but for quiet, internal worries. And often, when you think that grown-ups have everything sorted and under control, you find that beneath the surface they can be just as worried and sad as small people like yourself.

And sometimes there aren’t even solutions to those worries and feelings of sadness and frustration. Sometimes you just need to hug your small son, listen to his snoring, and sit quietly until things begin to brighten again.

Building Towers


The 2nd November 2013 was a good day. Your Mum was out doing errands and I was left looking after you.

You’ve quite liked Mega Blocks (cheap lego type bricks) but this was the first time that you stacked a few together. With a bit of help from me, you gradually began to build up. It didn’t matter what the colour, shape or size of the block was, just that you saw that up was good and wanted to make a tower.

I helped you a little bit. First in making a few connections to ensure our tower (you see it is now “our tower”, not yours or mine) had a bit of structure to hold it together and allow it to grow and exceed our expectations, and secondly in lifting you up to place the top layers when the tower was bigger than you could reach.

It was such a joy to see you suddenly get it. Get that you were making something, of your choice. Creating and designing. It was a real joy for me, to let go of things on my mind, my thoughts and adult concerns and to connect with the moment. A wonderful moment of just dreaming and building.

It was a great tower. High, colourful, impressive. I was SO proud of seeing you build it and of being privileged to have been able to be a part of the process little man. Thank you for giving me a wonderful Saturday afternoon.

Try to put down your phone

Drawing in sand

It’s good to put down your mobile phone Lawrie.

As I write this the iPhone is king, a smartphone. You’ll probably have something that I could only dream of as your communication / information / entertainment device of choice. But I hope that whatever it is, you try to put it away, put it down and switch it off on occasion.

Don’t be one of those parents whose more interested in reading Twitter or Facebook than just watching their beautiful child carefully pour water from one yoghurt pot into another at bath time. Take the time to just watch what your child is doing. You’ll very soon only have memories of this wonderful, quiet moment which no post on any website or media will beat.

Put down the phone and offer to hold one of the pots. Watch the concentration in that pair of sky blue eyes as a little brain works out the basic physics of water and it’s behaviours.

Lose yourself in that moment, so that you’re so involved, it sends small shivers down your spine.

When you go on holiday, switch it off altogether. Enjoy the walks, throwing pebbles into the sea, eating ice creams and putting endless coins into a grabber machine in the hope of winning a George Pig cuddly toy for your little boy.

By the way, you won’t win one, but you will find a teddy shop down the road, that sells them for a fraction of what you put into that arcade machine.

By all means take the occasional photograph. But don’t ever forget the vivid power of your own precious memories.



One day you’ll be an old man Lawrie.

And yet today, I’m stroking your beautiful, tiny, perfect two-year-old feet as I give you your evening bottle.

If you read this as an adult know this.  You are a wonder.  Beautiful.  Your tiny feet perfectly formed.  Soft.  Minute.  Exquisite.

Never ever feel anything less than a wonder my son. Because you are.

Being small

Sometimes when I’ve been having a bad time or am feeling low, I’ve gone outside and looked at the stars and the universe.

There are billions of galaxies and stars and planets out there son. Knowing that you are just a tiny, minuscule, infinitesimally small part of the universe can be a comfort. Because if you’re that small, it goes to show that your problems are also that small.

The universe works – it all works together perfectly. So being engulfed in it and part of it, but a teeny tiny part is enough you know.

In some ways, you, me and that problem don’t really matter much at all on a universal scale. I don’t mean this to say you don’t matter to me, your mum, family and friends, even to God – you do and you are precious.

But try to find some comfort in realising that you are part of something much much bigger. And from that perspective there’s not a lot to fret about.

Most of the things I’ve worried about…

…never happened.

Don’t worry so much as I have done Lawrie.

When I was younger I used to have so many worries, most of which never happened. Perhaps in listing a few of them and seeing just how daft they were you’ll see how really, it’s better to tread lightly and not worry too much. The really bad things tend to sneak up when you’re not expecting them anyway, so there’s no logic to worrying about the small ones.

Things I worried about when younger included:-

  • That my Mum would also die and be taken away from me. As of writing your Grandma is still about in her 70’s now.
  • That there would be a total nuclear war between Russia and America and we’d all go down in flames. (It was the 1980’s you know)
  • That I’d get called up and have to fight in the first Gulf war and probably die there.
  • That I’d never get a girl friend.
  • That I’d never have children.
  • That my head was too big, my legs too small, I wasn’t good looking enough.
  • That I’d never be able to have my own house.
  • That I’d never cope when relationships broke up.
  • That I’d be fired from various jobs I had because I felt people would find out I wasn’t any good at them.

Worrying doesn’t solve anything and only makes you fret about things that may never happen.

If you are really worried about something I would suggest that you talk to someone about your worry, prepare as best you can for what may happen and then ask yourself if what you are worrying about will matter tomorrow, next week or in a few years time. Most of the time it won’t.

And if that fails have a little bit of faith that most of the time things really do seem to work out for the best. And if they don’t, well you are stronger and more resilient than you think. You WILL be able to cope, trust me.